How to Become a Filmmaker and Emmy Award-Winning Director with Kyle Roberts

May 9, 2023
Written by
Bailey Fortenbaugh, Yosuke Shingu
Published on
May 9, 2023

In this episode of the Be Frank Podcast, we sat down with Kyler Roberts, a former viral stop-motion animator turned Emmy award-winning director. We spoke about passion projects, filmmaking, hiring talent, and more in this informative and engaging episode.

Key Takeaways from Our Talk with Emmy Award Winner Kyle Roberts

Recalling his early career making stop-motion animation, Kyle spoke about how he decided what kind of videos he was going to make. “A lot of people would say… search Google trends and analytics [to find popular topics]… I was never really about that…I wanted to do what we were passionate about,” He said, talking about how he preferred to make things he was interested in rather than trying to follow trends to go viral. 11 years ago, Kyle and his team made a Ninja Turtles stop-motion animation in which they recreated the 1987 intro song from the show. This video now has over 2 million views on YouTube. He said the animation took them a couple of months to complete, and that in stop motion they averaged about 4 seconds of footage a day in the creation process.

How to Get Good Video Project Contracts

Earlier in his career, he scored a major project with the Lego company. “One of the questions we get asked all the time is… How did you get that Lego Voltron spot?” He talked about how his agency hires freelancers per project, and he regularly applies for different projects using websites like Tongal to find projects. He spoke about how incredible the Oklahoma City creative community is and how the diversity of talent available is a strength for them, saying, “We do a bunch of different styles of stuff… we can customize [what we make] to what [clients] need versus when stuff comes in needing to customize it to [our] employees.”

Today, Kyle has worked on multiple long-form content projects, making his own award-winning films. You can check out all of his movies, stop motion, and other projects on his website.

Hiring Freelancers and Local Talent

Talking about hiring and sourcing talent, Yosuke asked how the hiring process has changed since Kyle started producing for projects. “It’s the same process, honestly… the questions of their experience change… Typically I will hire someone with slightly less experience… [if] I see more passion in them because I believe they’re going to give 110%,” Kyle said, talking about how his hiring process typically goes for any of his projects.

Asking Unique Interview Questions

Yosuke also asked Kyle one of his key hiring questions, asking “Why are manhole covers round?” Kyle responded that it is so the Ninja Turtles can get in and out quickly. “That question actually has a wrong answer and a right answer,” said Yosuke, “The wrong answer is ‘I don’t know,’ because I’m not going to hire people who can’t think.” They talked about how in the hiring process, it’s much more important to them to evaluate a candidate’s character and thought process rather than their industry experience.

Keep Up With Kyle Roberts

Follow Kyle Roberts at these links:


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